iPhone 11 Vs iPhone XR: Can The New Phone Really Beat Its Predecessor?
Dhir Acharya - Oct 08, 2019
The iPhone 11 and iPhone XR are among the most affordable iPhones ever made, but which one has more value to its price? Let’s put them in comparison.
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Apple surprised all of us when it announced the price of the iPhone 11 at only $699, $100 lower than that of the iPhone XR last year. With the new iPhone lineup launched, the tech giant has also lowered the XR’s price to $599.
Both of them are among the most affordable iPhones ever made with their own premium features, but which one has more value to its price? Let’s put them in comparison.
The iPhone 11
The base model of the newest lineup sport dual cameras on the back, featuring a Night Mode, along with a 12MP front-facing lens, which gives the phones more tricks for taking photos and capturing videos. However, the iPhone XR already produces great videos and photos, so the additional $100 is a little high.
On the other hand, the iPhone 11 packs the U1, Wi-Fi 6, as well as Gigabit LTE capabilities. These new features will eventually come to other phones in the future, but if you don’t want to wait for any longer, this is the best choice. But remember that there haven’t been complete networks for Gigabit LTE and Wi-Fi 6 yet.
The iPhone XR
Though this phone’s specifications and features are from last year, you are saving much by buying it, considering the values you’ll get. Its battery lasts longer, and with the A12 Bionic chip, it can run iOS 13 as smoothly as the newest iPhones.
And even without an ultrawide lens or the updated software, the iPhone XR still offers fantastic photos and videos. All in all, if you cannot spend much on a smartphone, this handset is still great.
These two phones look almost the same, thankfully you can still tell them apart by looking at the camera module on the back. However, apart from that and the color variants (the XR in blue, coral, and canary yellow; the iPhone 11 in pastel yellow, mint green, and lavender), you won’t spot any obvious differences. They have the same size, weight, display, resolution, as well as pixel density.
CNET conducted several drop tests on both of them, and the turned out to be sturdy. The iPhone 11 was dropped on its back and front on a smooth concrete floor from 0.9, 1.8, and 2.5 meters. Its screen and back glass didn’t crack. Though the phone had a small, cosmetic scratch above the lens when dropped from the greatest height, the camera still worked well.
The XR, on the other hand, was dropped on a concrete sidewalk. From 0.9 meters, the glass protecting the camera cracked while the back glass remained unharmed. The screen was unscathed too. Form about 1.5 meters, the XR survived being dropped on the back, but when dropped on the front, its screen cracked. Anyway, surviving the 0.9-meter drop is still great already.
Both the XR and the iPhone 11 are water-resistant, but the IP rating of the iPhone 11 is higher than that of the XR. In particular, the newest iPhone features IP68, which means it survives 2 meters deep for half an hour, while the XR features IP67, meaning it survives 1 meter deep for half an hour on paper. In real-world testing last year, however, the iPhone XR survived 5 meters deep for 19 minutes, because it could endure more than what its IP rating said. It’s possible that the iPhone 11 will exceed IP68 too.
They both feature a 12MP camera, but the iPhone 11 comes with a secondary ultra-wide angle lens, as well as a new Night mode for taking shots in low-light conditions. Overall, these phones produce equally vibrant well-lit, outdoor photos, with bright and consistent coloring.
But photos taken by the iPhone 11 are sharper, featuring finer details, which is especially clear when you view them at full resolution. In addition, with the new mode, it brightens up night shots and dims photos better. The ultrawide camera kicks in when you want more content in one photo, especially for landscapes. The flash on the iPhone 11 is also a bit brighter though you may never even use it.
Lastly, the iPhone 11 lets you take portraits of your pets while the XR doesn’t recognize non-human portraits or faces. And when Deep Fusion comes, the iPhone 11 will produce even better-detailed images with reduced noise.
In terms of videos, the newest iPhone captures videos with a better dynamic range, meaning exposure and lighting look more natural and even. Moreover, its video stabilization on the standard 12MP lens is a little steadier. However, the wide-angle camera doesn’t feature optical image stabilization, and when you record 4K videos, you can switch cameras only if you’re recording at 30 frames per second.
Regarding front-facing cameras, the iPhone XR houses a 7MP lens and the iPhone 11 sports a single 12MP camera. Though having extra pixels on the iPhone 11 is great, the iPhone XR already does an amazing job satisfying those who take selfies regularly. With the iPhone 11, you can also capture videos at 60fps as well as slow-motion videos. However, we mostly use the front-facing camera for taking selfies, so that the latter two features won’t be used often.
Faster chip versus stronger battery
Besides the A13 Bionic chip, the newest iPhone is touted to have a battery that lasts an hour longer than the XR. On the other hand, the XR packs the A12 processor along with a 2,492mAh battery.
Mostly, both these smartphones run iOS 13 equally smoothly and fast. In terms of daily tasks such as launching apps, firing up the cameras, and browsing the web, there weren’t any differences in speed. However, on paper, the iPhone 11 is faster, indicated in the benchmark results.
Regarding battery life, the iPhone 11 is claimed to survive for a longer time than the XR. But from tests of continuous video playback, with both phones in Airplane mode, the XR lasted 19 hours and 53 minutes while the iPhone 11 lasted only 15 hours and 24 minutes.
The iPhone 11 brings the future here, but benefits won’t come immediately
The new U1 chip: Apple has given the U1 chip to the iPhone 11 for spatial awareness, the company said, and the chip will help iPhones find other iPhones with higher accuracy when they are nearby. In addition, the U1 will let you point your Apple phone toward that of someone else and you can share files with that device faster thanks to AirDrop prioritizing it.
Wi-Fi 6: it’s the next-generation wireless networking. It will offer higher top transfer speeds, allowing devices to send more info with each individual transmission. It will allow routers and access points to support more devices simultaneously. Additionally, Wi-Fi 6 will help with battery conservation for sensors and wireless gadgets by scheduling transmissions, along with better facilities, faster performance in crowded places like stadiums and airports. However, Wi-Fi hasn’t got the official certification and routers to support it are costly, so you may not see any perks right now.
Gigabit LTE: this is 4G LTE’s advanced version. Gigabit LTE can reach a top speed of 1 GB per second, equal to the speed of a landline internet connection. Apple introduced it back in 2017 but left it out of the iPhone XR, now the iPhone 11 has it.
More storage: the iPhone 11 offers up to 256GB of internal storage, but you will have to pay extra. If you take photos and videos regularly, and you don’t use cloud storage, additional memory can come handy. The iPhone XR, on the other hand, offers only 64GB and 128GB for storage.
All in all, the iPhone 11 is future-proof, it offers a lot of new features, some of which will come in the future. The phone's performance is great and it takes amazing photos. However, the iPhone XR remains a solid device with fantastic durability, outstanding water resistance for its profile, longer battery life, and it generates beautiful photos too.
If you're eager to try all the new features and want to keep up-to-date with the newest product from Apple, go with the iPhone 11. But if you're on a tighter budget and are (and you shall) be satisfied with last year's specs and features, the iPhone XR is still a great choice.